The center, a nonprofit organization that provides food, clothing and help with utility bills to low-income clients, runs largely on donations. The recycling program will help raise much-needed funds, said board president David Ingram and Lamey.
“Heather and I were brainstorming one day on how we could get a revenue stream coming in to help support the efforts of the Benevolence Center,” Ingram said.
What they came up with was a recycling program, open to the public, that will accept cardboard, plastic and cans. All the gathered recyclable material will then be sold to a recycler, Lamey said.
The center has yet to enter into a contract with a recycling company, but Lamey has met with a Georgia-based recycler and she said she expects to be able to start the program by Sept. 1. It will be the only such program in Piedmont once it opens.
The price paid for recyclable materials varies each month, and there are different grades of recyclables, which makes it hard to predict how much money the program will bring in, but Ingram said any money generated would go to good use.
“It will be rolled right back in to the efforts of the Benevolence Center, and help our clients in need,” Ingram said. “Food, utilities, whatever we’re currently doing, those funds will be rolled right back into the organization to support that.”
The non-profit center received $154,426 in donations and gifts last year, and another $5,000 in government grants, for a total revenue of $159,434, according to the agency's 2011 tax documents. The center spent last year approximately $122,558 on assistance for its' clients, with the agency's remaining funds going towards its operational costs, according to the tax documents.
And more than simply another way to raise funds, Lamey said the program is a way for the town to help the environment by recycling.
The center helps approximately 350 households each month with a wide range of needs. In addition to raising revenue, the recycling program will allow residents and area businesses to help the center without having to donate cash. Instead, people can help by donating recyclables.
“This is going to give people who may think they can’t do anything to help the Benevolence Center, the opportunity to do something. Everybody has cardboard and cans and plastic,” Lamey said.
And it won’t just give good-hearted residents a chance to help, but also the center’s clients.
“This will also be an opportunity for them to feel like they can do something,” Lamey said. “It’s going to be an opportunity for everybody to give, who may not have the means to support in any other way.”
The program could also help the center in its effort to find grant money. Grant providers often ask if the agency seeking funds is “Green” and if that agency currently has a recycling program, Lamey said.
“We want to be able to say yes,” Lamey said.
The program will consist of three bins outside the center’s building, located on Alabama Highway 9 next to Piedmont Health Care. Schools, businesses and people can drop off their recyclable cardboard, plastic and cans once the bins arrive, Lamey said.
For more information on the program, or to donate to the Piedmont Benevolence Center, call Heather Lamey at 256-447-2220.
Star staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563 or on Twitter @burkhalter_star